10 Cheshvan 5781 / Wednesday, October 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
 
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Nosso: Mitzvah Objects    

Nosso: Mitzvah Objects



Anyone can become a "mitzvah object", the vehicle for performing a mitzvah. One mitzvah leads to many more mitzvoth in a beautiful upward spiral…

 



"The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nachshon the son of Aminadav, of the tribe of Judah." (Numbers 7:12).

 

How did Nachshon merit to be the first tribal president to present his gift offering during the inauguration of the holy Tabernacle?

 

If we open our Gemara in Tractate Berachot to page 39b, we find a story about the two great sages Rabbi Asi and Rabbi Ami who were dining together one Sunday. Rather than making the Hamotzi blessing over a loaf of fresh bread, they chose to make the blessing over an inferior leftover, stale loaf of bread from Shabbat. When asked why they chose the stale loaf of bread over the fresh loaf, they responded that since the stale loaf had served the day before as the eruv chatzerot[1], they chose it to make the benediction over it today during their meal. They explained their rationale by saying, "Since the stale loaf had already become the object of one mitzvah, we decided to use it for another mitzvah."

 

If I'm not mistaken, Rabbi Asi and Rabbi Ami learned the principle of using the object of a mitzvah from Nachshon ben Aminadav. When trapped between the Egyptian pursuers and the Red Sea, Nachshon ben Aminadav was the first one to jump in the sea and totally cast his life in the hands of Hashem. Only then, did the Red Sea split.[2] As such, Nachshon ben Aminadav turned himself into an object of a mitzvah, sanctifying Hashem's Name in total dedication and triggering the splitting of the Red Sea. Since he was already an object of a mitzvah, Hashem chose him to be the object of another mitzvah, thus becoming the first tribal president to present his gift offering on the occasion of the inauguration of the Holy Tabernacle. This is also a classic example of measure for measure: Nachshon was the first to jump in the water for Hashem's honor, so he became the first tribal president that Hashem honored.

 

We too can become "mitzvah objects" every moment of the day. Every time we praise Hashem's Name and express our gratitude to Him, we are performing a lofty mitzvah. What's more, every time we contemplate emuna, our brain becomes the object of a mitzvah. This too triggers a beautiful upward spiral that leads all the way up to the Heavenly Throne, for the more we do mitzvoth, the more Hashem gives us mitzvoth to do.

 

 

 


[1] The "Eruv Chatzerot" is a community-owned deposit of food, usually a loaf of bread and one other foodstuff such as a hard-boiled egg, that neighbors who live in one courtyard set aside in one of the houses, enabling the residents to carry things on Shabbat within the courtyard.

[2] Yalkut Shimoni, Parshat Beshalach, 14

 





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